We are now in the era of 5G, with big tech giants gradually bringing this new high-powered network technology to their entire smartphone lineup. The iPhone 12 lineup was the first from Apple to offer 5G, thus enabling superfast browsing and downloads, smooth and reliable streaming, and excellent gaming on the go. 5G is fast but also a power hog.
In reality, concerns were raised regarding the fact that the iPhone 12’s battery life drained faster when using 5G shortly after its official launch. The Cupertino firm has done a lot of work in fixing that since then, with the latest iPhone 13 Pro boosting a much-improved power juice.
We decided to run some tests to measure the impact of 5G on Apple’s iPhone lineup, and the results were eye-opening. Before we get to our results, you should know a few things about how 5G drains your iPhone battery life.
How Did Carriers Respond to iPhone battery life issues with 5G use?
Verizon is among the first carriers in the US to launch a 5G network, and the company has been teasing the superfast network for years. In 2021, Verizon told users to turn off 5G to save battery life on their devices. The announcement came in the form of a tweet that was shortly removed. T-Mobile also issued the same recommendation.
Tips to save battery life
Most carriers recommend you switch off 5G when it’s not needed. However, there is more you can do to reclaim some lost power on your iPhone.
- Lower brightness level.
- Switch off Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, and Hotspot when they are not in use.
- Enable Smart Data Mode if necessary
- Uninstall all unused apps.
- Turn off background processes.
So, What Did Apple Do to Fight 5G Battery Drain?
With the release of the iPhone 12 series, Apple implemented a “Smart Data Mode” that automatically shifts your iPhone from 5G to LTE when 5G speeds are unnecessary.
The poor battery results may have been behind Apple’s move to add a Smart Data Mode to its iPhone 12 lineup. However, you can manually turn off 5G to save battery life if you notice something wrong.
To enable Smart Data mode: Go to Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options > Voice & Data.
How to Turn Off 5G on your iPhone
If you now have an iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 mini, consider turning off 5G when you no longer use it. To do it, open Settings and go to Cellular > Cellular Tap Options > Voice & Data > LTE. Your iPhone will no longer attempt to connect to a 5G network, potentially saving some power juice.
How Does 5G Affect your iPhone’s Battery Life?
We performed some tests on the iPhone SE (2022), iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 mini, and iPhone 12 and 12 mini. All tests were on 5G and LTE.
|iPhone 13 Pro||>12h||>14.5 hours|
|iPhone SE (2022)||~8 hours||>8 hours|
|iPhone 13 mini||~8 hours||~10 hours|
|iPhone 12||>8 hours||>10 hours|
|iPhone 12 Pro||>9 hours||>11 hours|
Note: All the iPhone models involved in this test were connected to the standard sub-6GHz 5G, which offers slower speeds than ummWave 5G.
5G Auto or 5G On?
If you have an iPhone 12 model, consider switching to 5G Auto if you want to save more battery life. However, we still recommend all iPhone users leave 5G ON to enjoy its highest speed.
Also read: How to Save Data and Battery on iPhone 12
In fact, the results from our tests are not the same for everyone because data performance may change depending on location. That means you may get a superfast 5G network in your location, so make the most of it.
Be 5G or 4G, your iPhone’s cellular network is not the biggest culprit for battery draining issues, as there’s more to blame, ranging from background activity to problematic apps to outdated software updates.